May 10, 2006
The Rhinos showed Toronto what for in 2005, winning each of their four meetings by a combined 10 goals to 4 (including the May 31 hat-trick from He Who Shall Not Be Named). The Lynx are also one of the only teams who were lit up by players still on the Rochester roster, with Greg Howes scoring twice (both were game-winners), and Juninho and reigning Player of the Week John Ball adding a goal and an assist apiece.
There was a time -- long, long ago -- when playing in Toronto was the same as playing in Montreal. But the Lynx have been so bad lately, even crooked Canadian refereeing can't help them. Rochester is 3-1-1 when they've played in Toronto over the last two seasons and, okay, the refs did help during the one loss, when Ali Gerba/Ngon/Whatever converted a penalty kick in a 2-1 outcome.
Aside from a few players who keep turning up like bad pennies (Joe Mattacchione, Rick Titus, David DiPlacido, and everyone's favorite "little person," Robbie Aristodemo), this is a very young team with a lot of new faces. They're also winless in two matches, and have yet to score a single goal. Saturday will be Toronto's home opener, so expect them to play with a little more oomph than they showed in their dual 2-0 losses. But not so much oomph that they'd actually win. This season's installment of the four-match Fast Ferry Cup will not go well for the Lynx.
Keep an eye on Jamie Dodds, who scored twice against Rochester in 2005 and was the team's leader in scoring with 13 points (tee-hee -- 13 points!). Dodds also picked up yellow cards in Toronto's last two matches against the Rhinos. The Lynx just (as in yesterday) signed three Brazilians - two from the Campeonato Paraense league and one from Mato Grosso State league - but don't look for them to make a negligible impact this quickly. Notable newcomers include defenders Marko Bedenikoviæ (Week 2 TOW) and Tony Menezes (former CMNT), and forward Matthew Palleschi (from Vaughn in the CPSL).
Stupid Stat of the Week: Rochester has won five in a row (and is undefeated in their last seven) against the Lynx when facing Theo Zagar. Actually, that's not too big of a deal at all, but it probably makes some people feel better after Zagar's 2004 campaign as a Rhino. Rochester is 10-1-1 against Toronto in their last 12 meetings, with that one loss coming via the aforementioned penalty kick. The Lynx are the only opponent that doesn't keep me up at night.
Prediction: A 2-0 Rhinos win, a laughably small crowd, a post-match celebration at the Duke of Gloucester, and a splendid time at the Sigur Rós show. In all, a perfect day.
Look for next week's match preview one day earlier than normal because of Rochester's Wednesday match in Seattle.
Jon Popick -- PLANET SICK-BOY